NHIS launches community health insurance in Akwa Ibom

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The National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, has launched community based health insurance in Akwa Ibom State, in its resolve to meet 2015 Presidential target of 30 percent national health insurance coverage in Nigeria and to further make the programme more accessible and available to Nigerians.

The Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, while launching the programme, said the project was designed to make all Nigerians, especially the vulnerable groups, get health insurance cover at an affordable cost. Represented by the Executive Secretary of the NHIS, Dr Femi Thomas, the minister stated that the community-based health insurance remained a veritable tool for ensuring wider coverage, improved ownership, and renewed culture of health insurance in the country.

Speaking about government’s efforts towards health insurance in the country, Chukwu said: “Within nine years of official flag-off, the NHIS has covered the proportion of the population that still stands at a digit percentage. “This is largely made up of 98 percent of federal government employees. Similarly, over 1.6 million pregnant and children under-five are being covered under the NHIS MDGs/Maternal and Child project in 14 states of the federation presently. Additional states are being engaged for this programme.

“The tertiary health insurance programme, which has the potential to cover three million lives, is also being repackaged. As at today, we have been able to cover 900,000 of this 3,000,000 population. This spreads across 113 institutions in the country. The voluntary contribution programme of the scheme, along with various health plans of the organised private sector have been providing cover for those in the sector with their respective families.

“And this is the position that not less than one million lives are covered in this group”, the minister averred.

The programme, which is the first of its kind in the State, was launched in Ukana West Ward 2, Ikana Ikot Ide Local Government Area of the State. The NHIS donated the sum of N500,000 towards the launch and also made available the sum of N3 million for the purchase and installation of a 40KVA generator for the health centre to be used for the programme in the community.

The NHIS boss further pledged to fund ICT support for enrolment and data capture for the scheme, with an ambulance for the scheme in the ward.

Governor Godswill Akpabio, in his speech, said: “At the beginning of our administration, we declared free health care for our children under the age of five years, pregnant women and elderly. “Today, as we launch this CBSHI in our state, we have thrown open the door to make health care accessible to every person in our society”.

He expressed optimism that the scheme will relieve people of financial burdens they encounter while seeking medical care which, according to him, is a major challenge that prevents people from accessing medical care.

Source: Daily Post 

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